Destroying Western Values To Defend Western Values
This is according to a new investigative report by The Intercept, based on documents obtained through leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, on the "retooling" of the Department of Homeland Security from an agency focused on counterterrorism to one increasingly focused on fighting "misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation" online.
While the DHS's hotly controversial "Disinformation Governance Board" was shut down in response to public outcry, the Intercept report reveals what authors Lee Fang and Ken Klippenstein describe as "an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms" in order to "curb speech it considers dangerous":
According to a draft copy of DHS's Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS's capstone report outlining the department's strategy and priorities in the coming years, the department plans to target "inaccurate information" on a wide range of topics, including "the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine."
The report reveals pervasive efforts on the part of the DHS and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the FBI, to push massive online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to censor content in order to suppress "threats" as broad as fomenting distrust in the US government and US financial institutions.
"There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use," The Intercept reports.
"Emails between DHS officials, Twitter, and the Center for Internet Security outline the process for such takedown requests during the period leading up to November 2020," says The Intercept. "Meeting notes show that the tech platforms would be called upon to 'process reports and provide timely responses, to include the removal of reported misinformation from the platform where possible.'”
While these government agencies contend that they are not technically forcing these tech platforms to remove content, The Intercept argues that its investigation shows "CISA’s goal is to make platforms more responsive to their suggestions," while critics argue that "suggestions" from immensely powerful institutions will never be taken as mere suggestions.
“When the government suggests things, it’s not too hard to pull off the velvet glove, and you get the mail fist,” Michigan State University's Adam Candeub tells The Intercept. “And I would consider such actions, especially when it’s bureaucratized, as essentially state action and government collusion with the platforms.”
This is absolutely wild. The government is secretly transforming "national security" agencies into a new Narrative Police. “If a foreign government sent these messages,” said the former ACLU president, “there is no doubt we would call it censorship.” Read the story:
Docs show Facebook and Twitter closely collaborating w/ Dept of Homeland Security, FBI to police “disinfo.” Plans to expand censorship on topics like withdrawal from Afghanistan, origins of COVID, info that undermines trust in financial institutions. https://t.co/Zb3zmI1dQF10:06 PM ∙ Oct 31, 2022